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bfisher
12-28-2009, 06:52 AM
As promised here is my review of my 2008 FireCat with updated limbs and Cat2 cams.

I got the limbs Dec. 17th and installed them using the original Cat cams and new Roto cups. The limbs rely on machined side plates on the Roto cups for alignment. They are not drilled and pegged on the underside of the limbs so they can "float" longitudinally in the Roto cups. They only thing I can see to keep them from sliding is the limb bolt. This may work. Time will tell.

The Roto cups sit in the riser the same as the old ones so no shifting should occur here. The limbs are narrower and the limb forks so shorter axles are needed (included in the package). There are two thin (1/16") washers on each side of the cam. Cam lean was very evident and very bad at full draw. A call to Joel at Martin confirmed that the older Cat cams are not compatgable with the new limbs. He sent me a pair of 2010 Cat2 cams which I installed in about 15 minutes.

Bow specs fell within a reasonable proximity to factory with the ATA being 32 1/4" (both sides) and the brace height being 6 7/8". Draw weight peaked at 53# with 50# (1M) limbs.

At first glance there appeared to be no cam lean and a straight edge held along the side of the cam and parallel to the string confirmed that there is virtually no cam lean at rest. I removed the cables from the cable slide and checked again, with the same results. At full draw I could see no cam lean so I had a friend look from behind me as I stood and aimed. He said he couldn't see much of any cam lean at full draw. So far, so good.

Now for the tuning. I tied on a nockset 1/4" above square and moved the centershot in toward the riser. The centershot is closer with these new limbs, about 1/8". Put in a peep and took a shot at 10 yards with my old 20 yard sight setting. It was off a little with the first arrow hitting low in the X-ring on a Vegas face. Pretty darn close for a thrown together remake.

Bow is quiet and performing as well as can be expected. More work to come, as I don't have properly spined arrows for my setup. Bare shaft at 15 yards and paper tuning both show the same thing. Nocking point is right on and left tear through paper (stiff arrow for me). Need new arrows anyway with a softer spine.

Here some info about the new Cat2 cams. The cams have been redesigned to minimize cam lean. The cable track around the inner part of the cam is machined in spiral, meaning that as the cam rolls over the cables tracks deeper into the physical center of the cam. This is what helps with the cam lean as the pressure from the cable is shifted more toward the physical center of the limb forks, evening the pressure. The spiral (or helical if you will) isn't real noticable till you look hard, but it's there. It appears to work well.

The modules are different, too. First off they are not a silvery color, but more of a charcoal. They are narrower with a deeper groove for the cable to track into and the outer edge is rounded where so many people were getting severe cable serving wear. Also, there is a little gap between the cable and the module (at least on my bow) so this should help, too.

My shooting keeps going down hill along with muscle depletion so shooting test won't mean much to people, but with the bow set for 26.5 " draw, 42# of draw weight, and a 275gr arrow the bow chrono's at 256 fps. With some tweaking I should be able to get 260 fps to 265 fps out of it.

The only other thing I would say is that it has new Stone Mountain strings (Martin). I put a peep in right away and am having no peep rotation as of yet, with approximately 100 shots through the bow yesterday. My shoulder hurt today.

OK, now I'm open to questions and/or suggestions.

ezbite
12-28-2009, 08:03 AM
I'm glad to see your brace being 6 7/8 because I've never been able to get the 7" no matter how many twist I've put into the cables and thought it was me.lol. I never thought about measuring from both sides to Check ata. How far did you measure out from the riser to get your center shot?

bfisher
12-28-2009, 08:20 AM
The rest is sitting at about 13/16" right now, but that is just an eyeball setting. Because my arrows are not the right spine I haven't bothered trying to move it yet.

By the way, that 6 7/8" brace height is with the limbs backed off 3 turns. With the limbs bottomed it would probably be closer to 6 3/4", which would suit my short draw length just fine, but that would also mean I'd have to yank the cams over at 53# which is quite impossible for me at this time.

Years ago, 1997 to be exact, I had a Golden Eagle prototype with a 5 3/4" brace height and I cold shoot that well. Just couldn't keep limbs on the bow. Crack-Crack. That bow shot 290 fps at 27", 60# and 315 gr arrow.

Spiker
12-28-2009, 09:35 AM
Barry-
Are the Dakota strings 8125 or 452X?
Looking at my cams - the cable track seems to be helical (spiral). The cable is closer to center at rest and moves out some as you draw.
My thought is they are the new style with the old modules on them. Dont know if that is possible but...
These pics arn't very good but from them can you tell me what year they are?
Thanks.

Rockyhud
01-01-2010, 01:45 PM
Barry,
Great review of the new parts and good pics too. I have a few questions since I too have a 2008 Firecat. It had both limbs replaced last June after my original bottom limb cracked. It now has 2009 Firecat SE limbs and so far no problems as far as these are concerned.

What prompted you to get all these 2010 parts and did you have to buy these parts or did Martin swap these under warranty because of problems? Was it due to cam lean, and if so, how severe was the problem? I don't have much, if any, at rest but there is a very noticeable amount at full draw. Did you have a chance to compare performance, such as speed, draw cycle smoothness/harshness and drop into the valley, between the 2008 parts and 2010 parts? Did you have to change your strings because of differences in the 2010 parts? Did you get the parts delivered to you home or to a shop? If I were to do the same do you think Martin would have me go to my dealer to verify the problem and initiate the process of replacing the parts or would they send them to my home, with me sending the old parts back afterward?

I've also wondered about the new roto limb cup design changes and what they improve. The absence of peg holes in the limbs would seem logical in that the integrity of the limbs isn't compromised - I like that. As to the side plates - do the limbs run on these? If so, do you think this would weaken them over time in that area? Do you think there's any chance the limbs can move side to side which could potentially cause a change/loss of accuracy?

Thanks in advance for your time and answers.

Steve

scepterman30x
01-01-2010, 04:18 PM
Barry,
speaking of the "new" CAT2 cam. Is it a 3rd run of cams after the debacle with the originals eating cables or are they the improvements after the first run of cams. If you remember when you were down here I called Martin and ordered Wisecane some of the improved CAT2's after he was having problems with his. Like I mentioned are these the cams you are refering to or is it even a newer design.

Scott

bfisher
01-01-2010, 04:36 PM
Barry,
speaking of the "new" CAT2 cam. Is it a 3rd run of cams after the debacle with the originals eating cables or are they the improvements after the first run of cams. If you remember when you were down here I called Martin and ordered Wisecane some of the improved CAT2's after he was having problems with his. Like I mentioned are these the cams you are refering to or is it even a newer design.

Scott

Scott, I'll answer you first. Yes, I remember you ordering new parts for Wisecane's bow. Just what parts you got is something I can't answer. I am not even certain about what changes were made at that time, but I think it was a modification to the modules. I think what they did was just machine them about 1/16" narrower and possibly round off the sharp edge where the cables rubbed.

I never had a problem with mine so never had to get new mods. I am still not aware of whether they modified the cams by that time. What I can say is that both the cams and modules for 2010 are completely different from my original models.

Now I'll work with the other guys. You might want to stay on this and get a few answers on the other things.

Barry

scepterman30x
01-01-2010, 04:41 PM
The difference was that they positioned the "helical" part of the cam where the cable attatches a little further out away from the mod because I did compare and I did use his original mods.

bfisher
01-01-2010, 05:08 PM
Barry,
Great review of the new parts and good pics too. I have a few questions since I too have a 2008 Firecat. It had both limbs replaced last June after my original bottom limb cracked. It now has 2009 Firecat SE limbs and so far no problems as far as these are concerned.

What prompted you to get all these 2010 parts and did you have to buy these parts or did Martin swap these under warranty because of problems? Was it due to cam lean, and if so, how severe was the problem? I don't have much, if any, at rest but there is a very noticeable amount at full draw. Did you have a chance to compare performance, such as speed, draw cycle smoothness/harshness and drop into the valley, between the 2008 parts and 2010 parts? Did you have to change your strings because of differences in the 2010 parts? Did you get the parts delivered to you home or to a shop? If I were to do the same do you think Martin would have me go to my dealer to verify the problem and initiate the process of replacing the parts or would they send them to my home, with me sending the old parts back afterward?

I've also wondered about the new roto limb cup design changes and what they improve. The absence of peg holes in the limbs would seem logical in that the integrity of the limbs isn't compromised - I like that. As to the side plates - do the limbs run on these? If so, do you think this would weaken them over time in that area? Do you think there's any chance the limbs can move side to side which could potentially cause a change/loss of accuracy?

Thanks in advance for your time and answers.

Steve

Steve,

I'll start at the top and work through this. The only reason I made the change to the bow is because my top limb just happened to split about 6 weeks ago. When I called Jeremy I just figured that the 2010 limbs, being 4 ply instead of three, would be a better limb so I requested them. At the time Jeremy didn't tell me that they came with new style Roto-cups and axles. Maybe he assumed I knew. I found later that the new limbs also required the new Cat 2 cam, which Joel sent me. String sizes remained the same

The new Roto cups are machined from one piece of aluminum. I don't think there is much chance of a sideplate breaking off. There isn't much, if any stress to the sides. Just how the limb is going to be stable in the cup is a question I can't answer. Just have to wait and see.

I've now shot the bow with all the new parts. I can't discern much difference in draw cycle, or other performance. Really, I'm making wholesale changes during this whole process. Installing a different rest, different arrows, peep with a Verifier lens. In the meantime I'm waiting for my spine tester to be completed before I finish my new arrows.

As to how about getting parts? As a customer Martin will require you to work through a dealer. If you are having problems that require warranty service then that's what you, the dealer, and Martin have to work out.
As a Martin shooter I can have the parts shipped directly to me and I return the parts being replaced (part of the RA procedure).

In your case, if you're having no issues with the bow I wouldn't worry about it. If you'd have to buy the new pieces it would not be worth it. Just like me last year--I was hearing about cam leans and cables rubbing on the modules, serving being rubbed out ina couple hundred shots. I wasn't having any of these issues at that time so I didn't do anything about it. And it was also hard for me to explain to people what might be causing the problems because I had no first hand knowledge. More recently I'm trying to learn more about these things to be able to help others.

bfisher
01-01-2010, 05:15 PM
Spiker,

The cam is the same as my 2010 cams. The module appears to be the same except for the color. Mine are a charcoal flavor.

By the way, if you want batter pics then just back off where the camera can focus. It's digital man. Take a picture then view it. If it isn't right take some more. I learned this doing underwater stuff. I might take 50 pictures of a moray eel and only keep three of the shots. But he ain't going anywhere and neither am I so I stay there and shoot, adjust, shoot, adjust and so forth till I get the best results. It's how to learn. Similar to tuning bows. Just try stuff to find what works for you.

Sorry to preach.

Spiker
01-01-2010, 09:49 PM
Barry- Thanks for the cam info !
I knew about the camera focus issue, just was rushing things cuz I had to get to work that morning and those were the best outta the dozen I took...

Rockyhud
01-02-2010, 02:45 PM
Barry,
Thanks for all the feedback and advise. I took my bow to my dealer (Sportsman's Warehouse) and let them check it out. They agreed the cam lean was minimal while at rest and noticeable at full draw, particularly the top cam. It isn't cutting my servings so they weren't sure if Martin would approved changing all these parts or not. Mike, in the pro shop there, advised me to go with what you advise, so it sounds like I need to talk with Joel to see what he says.

If you have time, the only question (of the many I listed) that you didn't get to was about the draw cycle. I've always had some issue with the end being pretty abrupt and causing my arrow to bounce on (and sometimes off) the fork of my rest if I pull into the wall to quick and firm. Is there any difference in this part of the draw cycle between the old and new cams that you've noticed?

bfisher
01-03-2010, 11:01 AM
Barry,
Thanks for all the feedback and advise. I took my bow to my dealer (Sportsman's Warehouse) and let them check it out. They agreed the cam lean was minimal while at rest and noticeable at full draw, particularly the top cam. It isn't cutting my servings so they weren't sure if Martin would approved changing all these parts or not. Mike, in the pro shop there, advised me to go with what you advise, so it sounds like I need to talk with Joel to see what he says.

If you have time, the only question (of the many I listed) that you didn't get to was about the draw cycle. I've always had some issue with the end being pretty abrupt and causing my arrow to bounce on (and sometimes off) the fork of my rest if I pull into the wall to quick and firm. Is there any difference in this part of the draw cycle between the old and new cams that you've noticed?

Rock,

I didn't notice any particular difference in the draw cycle on mine. No to pick on you too badly, but your situation is, too me, typical of having too much draw weight and/or a draw length that is too long. The "bump" just before the rollover is quite common these days with speed cams.

My suggestion would be to turn the limbs down one turn (3#) and see if it helps. I know it does me. Give up a little bit of performance for greater comfort. It really is worth it. I know, for me, shooting 3D, my scores are not much difference between a bow shooting near 300 fps and one shooting 260 fps. The slowerbow I can just draw and aim more smoothly which just helps my whole shot sequence. I've gotten so picky about it that I can actually feel a half turn on the limbs.

Give it a try.

Rockyhud
01-03-2010, 08:57 PM
Barry,

Thanks again for the feedback and advise. I suspected the "bump" was a characteristic of aggressive/speed cams as I've seen the force draw curve of the Firecat and some other fast hunting bows and was aware of the quick drop at the end of the draw cycle.

I have tried shooting at lower DW and shorter DL but it really didn't change anything. More recently I've been paying more attention to how quick I approach the wall and try to slow down a little and that helps. Today I also made a small adjustment to my Limb Driver rest spring so it doesn't force and hold up the fork quite as strong - the combination of this and slowing down seems to have helped with the arrow bounce.

Steve

bfisher
01-04-2010, 07:16 AM
I don't have a link, but Nuts&Bolts over on AT has a thread about adjusting the cams to get rid of or at least ease the bump we're talking about. Might be worth looking into.

I have a feeling it might entail using a longer draw length setting and setting the draw stop short. I really need to look this up myself---when I get time.

ezbite
01-04-2010, 10:05 AM
I have a feeling it might entail using a longer draw length setting and setting the draw stop short. I really need to look this up myself---when I get time.

thats exactly what you have to do. took me awhile to get my firecat where i wanted it, but now i love it, wasnt too crazy about it before when id get to the last few inches of the draw it would almost be like something was wrong the hump was so big. also when i was going to let down the arrow without firing, it was as if i had to push my hand forward 1/2 to get the string to move, instead of just relaxing my arm muscles. no...i really didnt like it.


just move your modules to next 1/2" or 1" longer position (go 1/2" first) and move the draw stop a little at a time(towards the minus sign on the bottom cam), a little goes a long way, if you get it wrong you'll know it because it'll be like trying to hold back a rosie odonnell from a free twinky bar:eek:. i also took a lead pencil and marked where my starting point was on the draw stop. that way if i didnt like my results, i could go back to the orginal position and as always, take a photo of your bow before moving anything around, i find it easier to look at a photo to return my settings back to where they were if my tinkering results were not up to par.

Spiker
01-04-2010, 10:27 AM
Here is the link to Nuts&Bolts post about the CAT cam adjustment.
http://www.archerytalk.com/vb/showthread.php?t=1074031

Rockyhud
01-04-2010, 08:33 PM
That's a good one to read. I read the thread that Gary Studt (gjstudt) and others wrote on optimizing the CAT cam, end to end, and got some improvement in the feel of my cams (http://www.archerytalk.com/vb/showthread.php?t=626601). This was very informative.

When I first got my bow the feeling was like ezbite described - almost had to push the string to let down. I've adjusted the modules and draw stops to where my let-off is less and now I can relax my arm some and it begins, although still pretty quickly, to let down. I've been able to improve (or lessen somewhat) the feel of the hump when the cams roll over by following the advise in the AT thread but like Barry said, this is also due to speed cams and their aggressive design. I also adjusted the spring loading of my Limb Driver rest so it doesn't force the fork up quite as strong and that also seemed to help some.

I've used the advise from Gary's thread to get it where it is today, but I'm sure willing to try more so I'm going to see if the tuning advise from nuts&bolts (Alan) can help even more. I'll be back with more once I've had a chance to use nuts&bolts tuning advise. Hopefully I can get that last bit of undesirable bump gone and fall in love with my Firecat all over again.

Rockyhud
01-05-2010, 09:41 AM
So, I had another look at my cam positions last night. While I have the cams wrapped up pretty tight, with a small cable to post gap on both cams, per the tuning advise in the AT links, I also noticed the "timing holes" are not as close to the face of the limbs as shown in nut&bolts tuning advise. I also reread the tuning post from gjstudt and discovered the cable gap on my top cam is less than the bottom cam - just to opposite as he recommended.

I also reviewed some other photos he posted of his cams and cables at full draw. I noticed his cables laying close to the flat length of his modules much more so than mine do currently which makes me think I still have some tuning to do to minimize the bump and get the most performance yet.

So, I'm going to put a few twists in the string then adjust the cables afterward to get the timing holes positioned closer AND get the gap between the cables and cam posts set correctly and see show that feels. I'll update this thread with my results afterward. Hopefully all this great tuning info will help others as well.

Rockyhud
01-06-2010, 09:44 PM
Alright, I'm back after making more adjustments and other things. This was quite a process - a check it out, make adjustments and check it out again process through several iterations.

First, I twisted the string a few more turns, checked the bottom cam timing hole position and the gaps between the cables and cam posts, then finding the gaps not closed enough, twisted the cables and checked everything again. After doing this a few times I'd take the bow in hand and with arrow on rest, come to full draw. If it didn't feel right, such as too much bump or not enough let-off, I'd adjust the draw stop and draw back again, checking how it felt and if the arrow bounced on the rest.

I also checked A-to-A several times in the process, taking note that this was reducing little by little from a starting point of 32-1/2" to eventually 32-3/16". The cable gaps bounced around some, usually settling in the .08" range.

After running through this sequence several times and still not quite getting the feel and other things quite what I was looking for I decided to check the limbs bolts and see if they had the same number of turns to the point of bottoming out the limbs against the riser. They were off some (a little more than 1/2 turn difference between top and bottom) so I started with both fully bottomed out and turned them out equally from there. After turning them both out 2-1/2 turns I checked all measurements, including tiller and brace height this time, again. I figured that should get it back close to the 63 lbs draw weight I prefer and had before.

Just to satisfy my curiosity I tried drawing the bow while the limbs were bottomed out, presumably at 70 lbs. Wow, what a difference in effort to do that. I can see how this bow could spit arrows out at or near IPO speeds at that DW setting, there was that much difference in drawing back.

Tiller was about 1/16" different between top and bottom and brace height was just slightly less than 7". A-to-A was measured on both side of the cams with one side being 32-1/4" and the other side 32-5/64". The cable gaps were about .085" for top and .080" for bottom. The timing hole position (edge of the hole) wound up being about 1/8" away from the limb face.

So, the moment of truth again. I nocked an arrow and drew back. To my pleasant surprise the bump was very noticeably reduced and there was no perceived bounce of the arrow on the rest. I did this several more times to make sure it wasn't just the way I drew back that fist time. Each time the arrow simply came up into firing position and remained solidly in the bottom of the rest fork. The let-off is definitely less that 80% but the bow holds nicely and I can let down quite easily by slightly relaxing my drawing arm.

The next test will be shooting outside. It turned real cold here today - it's 4-degrees and windy now - but this is supposed to move out fairly quickly and get back into the mid-40s by the weekend. I don't have a chronograph so I'll have to guess at any change in speed based on point of impact compared to what it was before. The last time I shot through a chronograph it was consistently shooting 290 fps with my 390-gn CX Maxima 350s with Blazer vanes and 100-gn points.

I'm anxious to see how it performs. If it shows no change in speed/point of impact and the bow performs well - no increase in noise or vibes, etc., and I continue liking the draw cycle - I think I can stick a fork in it and call it done. I'll be back to update this thread after I get to shoot outside.

Rockyhud
01-16-2010, 09:18 PM
I finally got a chance to shoot outside today a little. I had a hunch there might be a change in point of impact after making as many changes to the cables and string as I did and there was. The POI had changed to the point I had to set my HHA single pin sight to the 40 yard setting to get it hitting where I aimed at 20 yards. To compensate for this I determined I needed to move my sight housing down to the next set of mounting holes. It got too dark to shoot after making this change so I'll have to wait until tomorrow to see if this does the trick or not.

As to how it shot, in general it seemed like it was at least as fast as it was before and it was smoother and just as, if not slightly, quieter than before. And like I said before I can let down with much more control now too. Overall, I'm quite pleased with the results. Even if the change in sight housing location doesn't completely bring POI back to dead on, this will be an easy thing to take care of - just have to reposition the yardage tape.

I'll try to get outside and shoot tomorrow and report back on the final results.

Rockyhud
01-17-2010, 12:28 PM
The weather was nice today - 50 degrees and hardly any breeze - so I took some time to shoot while it was nice. As hoped the small change in sight housing location did the trick. I didn't even have to move my yardage tape - it was dead on. I shot from 20, 40 and 60 yards with the POI right where it needed to be at each range. Yee-ha, I'm a happy camper now.

Back on topic (2010 CAT-2 cams, limbs and cups that Barry started), I think I'll leave my bow as is since I'm really not experiencing the severe cam lean or cut/worn serving problems that others have had. Unless I have another cracked limb event I'm gonna stick a fork in it and call it done.

Thanks to all, especially Barry and the AT threads on tuning, for all the help. If anyone with a CAT-cammed bow is having issues with the bump or simply wants to get their bow tuned as best can be I highly recommend taking the time and effort to read and apply the information these contain.